James Thorne Erskine was born in 1949, heir to the Earldom of Mar and Kellie, to which he succeeded in 1993. The next year, 1994, he took his seat in the House of Lords. He is the Premier Viscount of Scotland (Viscount of Fentoun), Hereditary Keeper of Stirling Castle and a Deputy Lieutenant. In the year 2000, he was also created a Life Peer - Baron Erskine of Alloa Tower.
After attending Eton, during which time he served as a Page of Honour to the Queen, Jamie went on to Moray House College of Education. He served as a Community Service Volunteer in York, a Community Worker at the Richmond-Craigmillar Parish Church in Edinburgh and continued into the field of social work. From 1973 to 1976, he was Social Worker for Family and Community Services at Sheffield District Council. During that time, in 1974, he married Mrs. Mary Mooney, who brought with her a family of five children.
Continuing in social work, he filled the post of Social Worker at Grampian Regional Council, at Forres & Elgin, at Highland Regional Council, at Inverness Prison and the Inverness West Social Work office. He was a Community Worker in the Merkinch Centre, and then a Community Service Supervisor in Inverness from 1983 to 1987. In 1987, Jamie took a building course at Inverness College.
During the next few years, he worked for a brief period as a building technician and boatbuilder, before taking on a two-year stint as a project worker for the SACRO Intensive Probation Project in Falkirk. 1991 was when he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Clackmannanshire and he was Chairman of the Strathclyde Tram Inquiry in 1996. He became, in 1997, a Commissioner for the Burrell Collection (Lending) Inquiry. Jamie was a Pilot Officer and then a Flying Officer in the Royal Auxilliary Air Force Regiment, attached to 2622 Highland Squadron, and he also served as a seaman with the RNXS.
Jamie is a member of the Farmers' Club, and lists his recreations as canoeing, hill walking, railways, gardening, cycling, and the restoration of Alloa Tower.